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2009 l V/UA l 91 Mins l Rating:
Siddharth Roy gets discharged from jail, and with his lawyer's assistance, returns to his rental flat in Mumbai and is asked to consider a divorce settlement from his wife, Maya. While in his flat he finalizes a manuscript titled 'The Prisoner', and then attends the Om Shree Internet Cafe to email publisher, Tim Wright. When he returns home he finds that the briefcase he got from the Internet café is not his, and contains Rs. 20 Lakhs in cash. He decides to keep the cash, and returns to the café to see if he can locate his briefcase in order to get his book published. He does not do so - but is unaware that the briefcase belongs to a gangster, Atul Bhai, who has already assigned two armed men, Amin Bhai, and Aseem, to get it back, while the café attendant, Mohan, who had Googled Siddharth, is actively engaged in locating him.
Siddharth - The Prisoner, Rajat Kapoor, Sachin Nayak, Pradeep Kabra, Pradip Sagar, Ava Mukherji, Ramesh Rai, Radhika
by Nikhat Kazmi | Posted Feb 26, 2009
There's a whole new breed of filmmakers who are trying to find a foothold in Bollywood with their different background. These are the cine-literate folks who have learnt their craft from French, Italian, Iranian art house cinema and their philosophy from existentialists like Kafka and Camus. Small wonder then, director Pryas Gupta chooses to pay tribute to Albert Camus' 1942 classic, The Stranger (L'Etranger) by having our hero pick up a copy from the footpath and walking off lovingly with it. Only this time, the book has been written by Siddharth Roy (Rajat Kapoor), the hero who missed the Booker and somehow ended up in jail. Don't know why. Don't need to know, perhaps.
Having paid his tribute, the director gets on with the business of storytelling. Again an ambiguous, teasing exercise that sees you following our protagonist on his silent jaunts in the streets of Mumbai, as he tries to rebuild his life, after a stint in prison. Having been separated from his wife, he lives in a decrepit room and pounds on a typewriter, creating the new Booker-winning manuscript. Unfortunately, the manuscript gets exchanged for an ungodly wad of notes in a cyber cafe. While the cyber cafe boy (Sachin Nayak) desperately hunts for the underworld's moolah, our writer launches a frenzied search for his manuscript. In between, he takes a break to rebuild bridges with his three-year-old son, only to realise that despite being free, he has carried his prison within him.
A metaphorical film about freedom and desire, the film keeps you engrossed. Firstly, by its explorations on the leitmotif of greed. And secondly, due to Rajat Kapoor's nuanced, almost minimalist act of a man in torment.